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executive interviews

Jobseekers :: Executive Interviews

Kazuhiro Tsukahara
Kirin Brewery of America LLC

A taskforce was formed and employees are working to create an image of the company’s objectives in 5 years

An individual’s range of responsibilities


In our company, there are 7 people working out of this office and nationally, 15 field staff in their home offices. Because they go directly to the field from home, twice a year, I interview them individually, and rather than having a conversation that takes on a sales meeting format, I try to listen to their requests for business management. Without taking prior surveys and leaving my feelings to dictate the outcome, I implement this interview style meeting.
In addition, twice a month, I have meetings with my 2 vice presidents. At the meetings, we discuss specific tasks and set due dates as well. I use these as a communications arena with all staff so I try to minimize the meeting as much as possible. In this country, the range of individual job responsibilities is very clear so I think it is best if the staff acknowledges this, sets targets, and takes action.
Our company is a small company. A small company has to be mobile. That is why we provide sufficient autonomy to our employees, and while the company provides a place for individuals to fully demonstrate their potentials, we ask for their firm commitment as well. A company has the responsibility to produce results that will be satisfactory to both stakeholders and customers.

Establishing a rewards system

How do we motivate staff? That, of course, cannot be talked about without mentioning incentives. If the performance target is achieved, there is need to clearly provide rewards that are promised in standards that are very open and clear so such a system should be confirmed. At our company, we are in the midst of preparing for such an environment. In addition, I would like to have our staff feel it is worthwhile and fun working for this company. I would like them to think that the jobs they do at this company is useful for their careers.
For that, we are creating a plan for 2010 that talks about getting the company in a certain direction, and to achieve that, to specifically do certain things. In reality, with the expansion of Japanese restaurants, our company beer has been accepted, and our business environment has been pushed forward by favorable tailwinds. Being in such good circumstances, we should start shifting the current situation while taking into account high oil prices and the uncertainty of America’s future economy.

What the employees would like to do

That is why I had everyone raise their hands and formed a 6 staff taskforce. I am not included in the 6. They are supposed to provide a proposal by creating their own image of what they would like the company to be. Included in that plan is their rewards system as well. I think at the end, I will be revising it just a bit but I would like to proceed with 95% of their plan intact.
I have to go back to Japan someday. The local staff will be the main supporters for this company so after plenty of discussions with them, I think I should respect what will be approved.


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